Climate is the general weather conditions in a region. Climate describes the long-term physical characteristics of the troposphere in a given place or region. Climate is influenced by the temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, and air currents in a certain place or area. Many systems have been used to classify climate around the globe but probably the most well know and widely used is the Köppen Climate Classification System. This system uses monthly and annual temperatures and precipitation to distinguish each climate region. The Köppen Climate Classification Systems divides all of the land masses on earth into five climate classifications.

  • Humid tropical climates
  • Dry climates
  • Humid mid-latitude climates (temperate)
  • Polar climates
  • Highland

snow on pineneedles image Most of the above classifications are defined primarily by their temperature. Dry climates are also defined by amount of precipitation. Humid tropical climates are regions that are warm all year long with very little or no seasonal variation. There are two types of humid tropical climates. Wet tropical regions have high temperatures and rainfall year round. Tropical wet and dry regions have high temperatures year round and rainy seasons followed by dry seasons.

Dry climates are regions in which the amount of water lost to evaporation exceeds the amount of water gained by precipitation. There are two types of dry climates. Arid dry climates receive very little or no precipitation. Semi-arid dry climates receive little precipitation.

Humid mid-latitude climates are regions in which there are clear seasonal variations in temperature. There are two types of humid mid-latitude climates: humid mid-latitude with mild winters and humid mid-latitude with severe winters. Humid mid-latitude with mild winters is further subdivided into three categories. Humid subtropical climates have high daytime temperatures and mild winters. Marine west coast climates have mild summers and winters with relatively high rainfall. Dry-summer subtropical climates have relatively mild summers and winters with little precipitation in the summer and heavy precipitation in the winter.

Humid mid-latitude with severe winters is further subdivided into two categories. Humid continental climates have severe winters and warm summers. Subarctic climates have long, severe winters and short, warm summers.

Polar Climates are regions in which the average temperature of the warmest months is below 10 ° Celsius. There are two main types of polar climates. Tundra climate regions have few to no trees due largely to a layer of permafrost. Ice cap climate regions are covered by ice and snow and the monthly temperature average is never above 0 ° Celsius.

Highland climates are areas of high elevation that are cooler and wetter than nearby areas of lower elevation.




clouds image Climate is determined by analyzing weather patterns over a long period of time. Weather is constantly changing and it describes the short-term changes in various factors in the troposphere.  Weather is the state of the atmosphere with regard to temperature, cloudiness, rainfall, wind, and other meteorological conditions.  The atmosphere is made up of mostly nitrogen, and oxygen.  The atmosphere also contains a very small percentage of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and ozone.  Although they are present in small amounts in the air, these substances have an important effect on weather and climate.  Water vapor and carbon dioxide can absorb heat that radiates from the Earth into the atmosphere. This also helps heat up the surface of the Earth. Water vapor is also responsible for the formation of clouds and precipitation. The ozone layer regulates the amount of UV radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth. The depletion of the ozone layer would allow more harmful UV rays from the sun to heat up the surface of the Earth.